Controlling the Message

A New Media Manifesto

Alright, it’s not so much a manifesto as it is best practices. Manifesto just sounds so much better. The point that businesses need to control their message has been misconstrued as of late, though. On one end, some businesses haven’t resigned to the fact that their messaging is less powerful than the recommendations of others. On the other end is businesses that can answer every message and engage heavily in every forum, but forget that the internet isn’t the only place they interact with consumers.

I was recently disappointed by a Twitter interaction I had with @DeltaAssist. They even purport to “…answer every tweet,” in their Twitter profile. Answer every tweet they did, yet their answering of my question left much to be desired. See, I was trying to get answers about some specific reasons I was being denied elite status. I’ll end the personal disappointment portion of this post by simply saying they only answered my question with a fact I already knew. I was so upset I ceased to continue interacting. ¬†What’s worse, is the customer experience when flying with Delta can also be poor – often. Delta represents a classic case of a company that thinks the simple act of engagement is enough.

Other brands may have a presence on properties they don’t own or have paid for but their earned media presence is a barrage of their story in their voice. You know the company that engages with no one but has their most recent commercials lining their page which only gets a hit when a person links to that video at that particular web property. Yeah, I knew you did. It’s annoying when other businesses do it so what would make you think your customers want to engage with you in that way?

However, I’ve got the secret sauce that will allow your brand to be considered highly by customers, prospects and those that have no connection to you other than word-of-mouth. Ready? It’s two simple things.

  1. Regularly communicate your competitive positioning to your employees. It is imperative that they understand the company values, brand position and customer philosophy. This will make the customer interactions commensurate with message you would plan to communicate through paid and owned media channels. Instead, it happens with every interaction, so that your customers can evangelize you in a manner consistent with the company’s wishes.
  2. Empower your people. If you do number 1, then this will be an easy task. If not, it can be terrifying. But, if you empower your people then issues are handled instantly and customers are less likely to react negatively. In fact, word of mouth can be most powerful when a customer proselytizes the competent and rapid resolution of their imperfect experience.

You make those two simple commitments to your business and you will have changed the narrative about your brand, to a message much more powerful than you could have by spewing out well-crafted (albeit unbelievable) advertisements. Though it can be scary to hand over control, remember that you never really had it but now your customers that love you have much greater gross ratings points (reach times frequency) with their effusive praise.

About Therran Oliphant

Therran Oliphant is a strong advocate for developing the academic and practical field of Integrated Marketing Communications. Holding an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) from Eastern Michigan University, Therran has been a staunch advocate for developing the theoretical, practical and applicable concepts of the field, especially as it comes to digital advertising and media. His main passion is helping marketers more accurately interface with the technology community and ask the right questions to help them accomplish the objectives their brand customers have set. A career in data and advertising technology has allowed him to have a unique perspective on the science of utilizing the right methodologies to systematically ask the right questions that lead to delivering the outcomes necessary for success.